Developing Care-Technologies While Balancing Utopian/Dystopian Worldviews: Dimensions of Attention

Friday, July 18, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: Booth 40
Oral Presentation
An JACOBS , iMinds SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium
Pieter DUYSBURGH , iMinds SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium
Karen WILLEMS , iMinds SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium
Shirley ELPRAMA , iMinds SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium
Jasmien DECANCQ , iMinds SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium
Collaborating since 2005 in different interdisciplinary pre-competitive care technology research projects in Flanders (Belgium), we learned about crucial dimensions to balance the tendency of supporting utopian/dystopian views on the impact on wellbeing and quality of care due to new care technologies.  The goal of these subsidized projects is to innovate in a way added value is created for its future users and valorization potential for the collaborative companies. In general the team is rather utopian on the capabilities of the information and communication technology.

Involving potential users from ideation phase towards valuation of prototypes is a primary way to bring balance in looking at both positive and negative consequences of the future care technology. Due to the involvement of social scientists, over the years we moved from a pathology-centered problem definition, over an age-focused approach towards a care dependent approach. Concurrently, we emphasized the need of a multi-stakeholder approach, grounded in the insights of the Social Construction of Technology perspective (cfr Bijker, Rip). These premises of human centered design are not enough to balance the tensions and paradoxes encountered when studying the potential consequences of envisioned care solutions and their impact on care-giving.

Recurrent dimensions of empowerment and disempowerment, that are potential pitfalls, are described in this paper. Some essential themes will be: self-determination of care dependent and his/her caregivers, impact of technology on the caring relationship and quality of service by care organizations, role of present and future infrastructure and learning curve of present and future users, … We also discuss the ways in which we try to balance tensions and paradoxes in this field, by making use in all phases of innovation binder approach (scenario’s and persona’s, tech cards, … ), and supporting the development of CareLivingLabs. We illustrate these with examples from past and current projects.